In early 2006, the U.S. strategy in Iraq began to shift from hunting bombs to hunting bombmakers. The focus on breaking up bombmaking networks, accompanied with “a broader counterinsurgency strategy this year,” has brought “casualties from the bombs” to “their lowest point since 2003, the first year of the war.” According to USA Today, the strategy “was ignored or rejected for years by key decision-makers,” like Vice President Dick Cheney, who “insisted the insurgency was dying”:
That plan and others mirroring the counterinsurgency blueprint that the Pentagon now hails as a success were pitched repeatedly in memos and presentations during the following two years, at meetings that included then-Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby. […]
Bush administration officials, however, remained wedded to the idea that training the Iraqi army and leaving the country would suffice. Officials, including Cheney, insisted the insurgency was dying. Those pronouncements delayed the Pentagon from embracing new plans to stop IEDs and investing in better armored vehicles that allow troops to patrol more freely, documents and interviews show.
In May 2005, Cheney declared to CNN that the insurgency in Iraq was in its “last throes.”